Animals respond to external stimuli based on instinct: they eat, fight, run, and procreate according to automatically triggered signal paths defined deep in their brains. Humans have instincts, too, but most of our "fight or flight" days are behind us. The daily tribulations we face are not so starkly defined as we decide where to concentrate our time and energy, what points of view to take, which professionals to listen to, and how to best set ourselves up for future success.
To handle these imprecise, no-right-answer situations we rely heavily on learned responses. Through millennia of social conditioning humans have developed rules for interaction that provide intellectual shortcuts to cut through the noise of modern life and guide our behavior in a myriad of situations. In Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini identifies the "six levers of influence" to which we all respond - knowingly or not - to keep our society functioning smoothly.
As a sales professional, working within the framework of the "six levers of influence" will make you more persuasive and improve the reception of your message. In this article, we'll review the "six levers" and brainstorm ideas for using them in a sales context.